I, Robot

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Checked out I, Robot on Sunday afternoon, and it made for a pleasant time.

I, Robot is the new sci-fi action movie starring Will Smith, destined to be one of those summertime blockbusters that everyone ends up buying when the DVD comes out. Maybe.

See, it’s loosely based on the Isaac Asimov book of the same name. I thought I had read this a long time ago, but I apparently either don’t remember it or it wasn’t the same story. Either way, here’s the deal:

Will Smith is a technophobe living in a world where robots do everything. Everyone has a personal robot assistant, and these robots are the most helpful thing ever. On the eve of the largest robot release ever, the doctor who invented most of this technology gets thrown from a window and dies. But who did it?

Over the course of the movie, Smith (and Bridget Moynahan, who plays another robot-creating doctor) investigate the case and uncover a sinister plot to take over the world.

Now, you probably watched the previews. You probably saw the same thing I did - Will Smith kicking ass on a bunch of robots. You probably saw a lot of gunplay and fighting and car chases and all the things that make a light, fun action film.

Both you and I watched previews for a movie that really doesn’t exist.

See, I, Robot plays a lot more to the philosophic side of things. Can robots evolve? Can they feel emotions? Are they sentient beings, capable of free will? All of these things get looked at over the course of the murder investigation. Interesting? Sure. Reflective? Maybe. Is this the movie I came to see? No.

If I had wanted to see a Will Smith remake of Blade Runner, that’d be one thing. I saw the previews, though, and I expected some serious action. I wanted smart one-liners and things getting blown up. I wanted car chases and acrobatics. I wanted a special effects extravaganza with a nuclear climax. What I got was a sci-fi murder mystery with a side of philosophy.

That’s not to say this is a bad movie - far from it. I enjoyed the film. I don’t feel like I lost out on my $6. That said, it’s not the movie I went in to see. I expected one thing and got something else. I feel a slight bit disappointed, like the victim of a bait-and-switch scheme. Again, not that I got a lesser product, I just got a different product. It wasn’t what I expected.

If it’s not an action movie, don’t pimp it like it’s an action movie. Throw some more of the murder investigation in the previews. Give me something that makes me realize there’s more than just action here. I realize the action fills the seats, but you’ll get more positive word of mouth if you accurately represent the product. (Don’t even get me started on those movies with previews that show scenes that aren’t in the film.)

I, Robot is good. Go see it. It’s worth a matinee price in the theater, or at the very least a rental. I might have to think about it for the full price… I’d consider it, but it might end up a coin toss. Definitely worth checking out, just don’t go in looking for an all-out action film.